Thomas Jefferson-- Foreign Affars
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In 1804, Thomas Jefferson was elected as president for his second term. He was a Republican and was seen to be much more popular than his Federalist competitor, Charles C. Pickney. Jefferson was also supported by the successes of his first term, including the Louisiana Purchase, his frugality, and for his desire to minimize public taxes and government costs.
One of Jefferson's largest challenges was keeping America out of the growing conflict between England and France. In 1803, France once again declared war against England. The war provided American merchants with high profits due to the ship's willingness to trade with both countries, but this neutrality made American ships targets for both countries.
During this conflict, France had seized 500 American merchant ships, while England seized nearly 1,000 ships. The British navy routinely violated American rights, and American sailors were constantly seized and forced to work by Britain. Oftentimes, those captured were accused of being British deserters to give Britain a 'better' claim on seizing American sailors.
One of America's largest conflicts during this period was the size of their navy. Compared to Britain, their ships were small and insignificant, and Jefferson ignored the impressment occuring by Britain. In 1806, Congress passed the Non-Importation Act that boycotted British imports. It was withdrawn, but eventually reintroduced. Jefferson even closed American ports to British ships. The Embargo Act was later declared and ended all foreign trade involving America.
The Embargo Act was a terrible declaration made by Congress and Jefferson. The American economy crashed and unemployment rates increased. The act was withdrawn in 1809 and replaced with the Non-Intercource Act that closed off trade with only Fance and England. James Madison-- the country's new president-- was given enough power to reestablish trade with either nation as long as said nation terminated the intrusion of Amercia's neutral rights.
In 1810, Macon's Bill #2 was passed. The bill reopened trade with both Great Britain and France. The only condition was a promise to end trade when either country ended the policies that allowed them to capture American ships. Over the next few years, tensions between Britain and America grew, and war loomed close. The U.S. Congress declared war on Britain during the summer of 1812, thus starting what would be forever known as the War of 1812.
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